Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Wisconsin Wedding

I am road-tripped out after this weekend. Drives to Virginia, Memphis, and now Milwaukee for very short amounts of time have done me in. It was really good to get away, even if it was only for a couple of days. I’ve been up to my eyeballs with my CPE special project on child abuse, and my soul needed something happy to celebrate. Cue: my cousin’s wedding!

My dad and I drove up to Milwaukee on Friday, and I have to say, the parts north of Indianapolis were brutally boring. Flat terrain, tiny towns, and giant windmills, corn, and soy as far as the eye could see. The traffic around Chicago was a little problematic, but we arrived just in time to change quickly and head to the rehearsal dinner at Lake Park Bistro.

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Hello Lake Michigan! After some cocktail time out on the patio, we headed inside and were greeted with a beautiful cheese plate on each table. When in Wisconsin…

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The food was delicious, and even though I came with my parents, they seated me at a table with other young people, so we had a good time. It’s always a little nerve-wracking to be alone and not know anyone, but super-extrovert me kicked in and I had a great time.

The next morning, Mom and I had done some research on where to do our 10-mile long run for the week. With the help of some internet friends, we ended up piggy-backing on the Badgerland Striders training run. Everyone was very welcoming to the out-of-towners, and there was a wide variety of pace and experience levels. The route was well-planned, and we ran along the lakefront and got to enjoy Milwaukee.

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The weather was on the warmer and more humid side for the Midwest, but it felt good to us, especially with the breeze off of the lake. We had a couple of sprinkles, and the clouds kept the sun off of us until the very end. It turned out to be a flat, faster run for us. Hopefully that’s proof that all of this hot, humid summer running is doing good things for my body!

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When we got back to the starting area, there was plenty of food and beverages and even some sports medicine professionals to answer questions and help with any aches or pains. We were hungry for a real meal, so we didn’t stay too long. Thanks to the iPhone and Yelp, I found CafĂ© Corazon, an eclectic Mexican place for breakfast/brunch that was also veg*n-friendly. The giant burrito with soy chorizo was calling my name, and it satisfied my runger.

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Once we got cleaned up and relaxed for a bit, we didn’t have too much time before heading to the wedding. I wanted to make a beer stop (definitely one of the upsides of driving vs. flying) to pick up some things that don’t have distribution in Nashville, so we headed to Three Cellars for their wall of Wisconsin beer.

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They also had a beer & wine tasting going on, so we enjoyed some of the European-style beers and Spanish wines they were pouring before making our final selections. One of the beers I’m very excited about tasting is this one:

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And it was wedding time. The ceremony was at the bride’s parents’ house, and we crossed our fingers that they had a lake view and were handsomely rewarded. Though it was a little warm, they couldn’t have asked for better weather. Such a beautiful place.

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We took advantage of the scenery for a little family photo shoot as well.

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My cousin, the groom:

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My dad and his brother:

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And afterwards, at the reception, my cousins and me:

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I did not get their height.
The reception was at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, a really beautiful venue and perfect space for the size of their wedding. After cocktail hour on the patio, we headed inside to beautifully set tables and delicious food.

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The bride & groom. So happy!

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Being in Wisconsin, we had to make a quick custard stop before heading home for the night, and I did a great job getting red raspberry custard all over my dress. After another early wake-up call for more miles, we packed the car and headed south for Mars’ Cheese Castle.

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The first time I visited the cheese castle with Joe (almost 6 years ago!), I remember it being dark and crowded with low ceilings. But now they have a bright and shiny new building, full of cheese, gourmet meats, beer, wine, and other gourmet foods. Joe had requested some string cheese, and I picked up a few more delicious Wisconsin treats before driving the 9+ hours BACK to Nashville with my parents.

It was a whirlwind, but we got to do and see a lot, as well as celebrate with my cousin and family.